Saturday, 25 February 2012

Bittern


 

Now the mornings are starting to get a little lighter it meant getting up slightly earlier and meeting Alan at the Grove entrance gate at 5.30am we made our way to the Viewing Ramp where, as the light started to improve we were able to see 7 Shelduck from the ramp as well as 3 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard a few Teal and Lapwing and a Water Rail calling. Other birds noted while still fairly dark were a few Fieldfares passing over but, two rather vocal Cockerels from the north side of the river drowned out most calls before light. Due to excavation work, and, the digger still present it seemed to have kept most birds away although the first of 4 Bitterns seen today passed close over us at 6.50am and 12 Marsh Harriers were seen. Strangely, though, they were coming into the reserve from the east instead of, leaving to the east. A  look in both Feast hide revealed a few Teal 3 more Tufted Duck and 2 more Pochard plus a Little Grebe while Harrison’s Hide was devoid of anything of note, just 2 Mute Swans and 5 Teal. We Carried on to Marsh hide were, it seemed, most of the bird activity seemed to be.
Tufted Duck
There were at least 400 Teal present with a similar number of Lapwings plus 9 Wigeon, 10 Canada Geese, 1 Little Egret, 9 Ruff, 3 Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 21+ Water Pipits and 1 Sparrowhawk. All the Greylag and Canada’s left for the fields on the other side of the river and then at 8.00am the five Tundra Bean Geese flew west past the hide on the south side. Just 4 Cetti’s Warblers were noted but I’m sure will become more numerous as the spring arrives. We were joined by Steve Ashton and while contemplating on what to do next the second Bittern of the day flew over the footpath and landed on the reed edge directly in front of the hide about 300 yards out while the third was flushed by a passing birder nearer to the hide on the south side of the path. A short while later Alan pointed out the fourth bird to the left of the hide looking a little bedraggled and wet and this one stayed on show in virtually the same position for an hour and a half.
Wet and bedraggled Bittern

Wet and bedraggled Bittern

Wet and bedraggled Bittern

Wet and bedraggled Bittern
A Redshank was feeding in front of the Bittern at one point and although the waders rose to the skies on several occasions while watching the Bittern, no obvious predator could be found. The trek pack to the Ramp was fairly uneventful adding  just 3 Curlews flying past between Harrison’s Drove and the Feast hide while in the Feast Hide the Tufted number had risen to 8 and a Shoveler drake allowed itself to be photographed.
Shoveler

Gadwall
Finishing the session on the Ramp with an attempt to raptor watch while also watching the reserve manager Steve Etherington carry out more of the excavation work we noted 4 Common Buzzards plus 4 or 5 Marsh Harriers that were very high up.


1 comment:

  1. Just catching up on the blog etc, well put together as always Martyn, together with good shots. I do like the Gadwall so often over looked.

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